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The greatest danger today in the United States is our political system itself. Among the greatest problems we face are the policy of gerrymandering and passage of the Citizens United legislation. Both practices are counter to the idea of democratic government as meant by our Constitution. They are counter to the idea of one man, one vote. A third problematic part of our government is the absence of term limits.

Gerrymandering allows for politicians to devote their efforts to keep themselves in power to serve themselves and their campaign donors. The Constitution calls for citizens to select whom they want to represent them in government. Gerrymandering works the opposite way; the politicians controlled by bug money pick whom they want to represent.

Citizens United makes it legal for our political system to be controlled by a small group of billionaires and giant corporations and not by the general populace. They legally bribe politicians to pass legislation that benefits their self-interests regardless of what is good for the country’s citizenry. The long-term effect of Citizens United on our electoral system will make big money become more entrenched, more powerful, and cement their grip on our political system and eventually destroy our representative form of government.

No term limits allows politicians to become so entrenched in their positions that they tend to forget whom they are supposed to represent. Term limits reduce corruption and open our government to new people with new ideas. How many times have we seen politicians who have been in office for decades and are still promising the same solutions the promised decades ago, but never fulfilled them?

As long as these matters are part of our government, our democratic system of government will continue to deteriorate.

These problems have recently come to the surface in a very public way in the House of Representatives. Their constitutional duties to serve the country by proposing legislation to resolve national problems or improve the lives of all our citizens has come to a complete halt. Today they are embroiled in infighting pitting egos, power grabs, ideologies, false conspiracies and revenge against their fellow legislators, mostly within the same party.

This chaos in the House of Representatives is exposing our government to the rest of the world as being grossly incompetent. America’s leadership in the world is being jeopardized by the petty infighting and chaos taking place in the House of Representatives lately. There are two major wars among many other serious matters in the world on top of our domestic problems like passing a budget resolution that calls for a functioning U.S. government. There are some members in the House whose sole intention is to disrupt, putting a stop to any meaningful legislation. Running a campaign based solely on revenge only serves to promote more hate and division.

The disruptors, the bomb throwers, the unprofessional conduct, the corruption are poisoning our democracy. For our government to function as it is supposed to, there needs to be accountability, cooperation and compromise, starting with the House of Representatives. At this point voting these people who lack the ability to govern out of office should be our first step. Voting for honest, dignified candidates is the second step we need in order to return sanity to our government and our democracy.

Beto Conde lives in Rancho Viejo.